Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Week 9 DVOA Ratings
Week 9 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

Football Outsiders has been driving the Los Angeles Rams bandwagon since I first put together early projections for ESPN Insider in April. Readers were surprised to open up Football Outsiders Almanac 2017 and find the Rams with a mean projection of 8.0 wins. Our preseason simulation put the Rams in the playoffs 38 percent of the time.

But I never, ever, thought we would be talking about the 2017 Los Angeles Rams as the best team in the NFL.

And yet, according to DVOA, that's what the Rams have been. After flaying the rotting carcass of what used to be the New York Giants, by the score of 51-17, the Rams move past the Pittsburgh Steelers and take over the No. 1 spot in DVOA this week.

Perhaps what's most remarkable is how well-rounded the Rams are in 2017. Our preseason projection was based on the idea that the Rams would be near the top of the league on defense and special teams. That prediction came true, as the Rams are third in defense and first in special teams. But the Rams are also now ninth in offensive DVOA, and that's not because of the Todd Gurley show. The Rams are 15th in rushing DVOA, but second in passing DVOA. Only the New England Patriots have a better passing game than the Rams this season.

It has been a long, long time since the Rams were this good. The Rams had not been in the DVOA top ten any later than Week 1 since they ranked No. 6 in Week 8 of 2003. They were last No. 1 in Week 4 of 2001. (Despite going 14-2, that Rams team was behind the Philadelphia Eagles in DVOA for most of the season.) The offense also hasn't been any higher than tenth since Week 7 of 2004.

It's certainly possible that we're overrating the Rams a bit because of a couple of runaway wins, but most of the good fortune the Rams have had this season is already filtered out of the DVOA ratings. The Rams' schedule ranks 29th so far, but opponent adjustments are almost full strength by this point, and even if they were full strength it wouldn't bump the Rams out of the top spot. The Rams have also had serendipity with opposing special teams, but we don't give them credit for that in our special teams ratings. Not only do the Rams lead the league in actual special teams value, they also lead the league in "hidden" special teams value. Opposing kickers are just 11-of-17 on field goals, with two of those misses coming from less than 40 yards. They've also missed two extra points. Only half of opposing kickoffs have gone for touchbacks, compared to 65 percent league-wide, and opposing punts have also been shorter than average.

So the Rams aren't quite as good as their league-leading point differential of 108 points would otherwise indicate, but even if we adjust for that, they're still No. 1. This team was 30th in DVOA a year ago. That's a phenomenal turnaround. There's no guarantee the Rams will stay this good for the entire season, but right now, this would be the greatest year-to-year turnaround in DVOA history.

Most Improved Overall DVOA, 1986-2017
Years Team DVOA Y1 Rk Y1 W-L Y1 DVOA Y2 Rk Y2 W-L Y2 Change
2016-2017* LARM -28.6% 30 4-12 33.0% 1 6-2 61.6%
2012-2013 KC -40.1% 32 2-14 17.5% 6 11-5 57.6%
2009-2010 DET -51.6% 32 2-14 -1.1% 18 6-10 50.5%
2011-2012 DEN -11.8% 24 8-8 36.5% 2 13-3 48.3%
1998-1999 STL -9.9% 20 4-12 34.0% 1 13-3 43.8%
2011-2012 SEA -1.5% 19 7-9 38.7% 1 11-5 40.2%
1986-1987** IND -30.5% 27 3-13 9.5% 6 7-5 39.9%
1998-1999 OAK -18.3% 27 8-8 21.2% 3 8-8 39.5%
1999-2000 NO -40.3% 31 3-13 -0.9% 19 10-6 39.4%
2003-2004 PIT -1.6% 19 6-10 37.6% 1 15-1 39.1%
2003-2004 BUF -7.3% 23 6-10 31.3% 3 9-7 38.7%
2007-2008 CAR -20.6% 26 7-9 18.0% 6 12-4 38.6%
2015-2016 DAL -18.0% 27 4-12 20.3% 2 13-3 38.3%
*Through 8 games / ** 12-game season, strike not included

The Rams are part of a wave of fairly balanced teams at the top of the DVOA ratings in 2017. The defining trend in the NFL last season was an almost total absence of teams that were above average on both sides of the ball. No team finished the year in the top 10 for both offense and defense. Only three teams were above-average on both sides of the ball: New England (second on offense, 16th on defense), Pittsburgh (7/11), and Washington (12/14). A fourth team, Seattle, was ranked in the top half of the league on both sides of the ball although their No. 16 offensive DVOA was below zero.

The 2017 season has seen a lot of parity, without a historically dominant team. But the best teams of the year are still pretty good, and they're very well-rounded. As of this week, there are now four different teams that rank in the top 10 on both sides of the ball, two of which are in the top 10 on special teams as well. The Rams are one, and the 8-1 Philadelphia Eagles are the other. In fact, the Eagles are even better-balanced than the Rams are. They rank ninth or higher if we break down the game into five phases instead of three: pass offense (4), pass defense (8), run offense (9), run defense (8), and special teams (5).

The other two teams, which are strong on offense and defense but not special teams, are Pittsburgh (sixth on offense, fourth on defense) and New Orleans (third on offense, eighth on defense).

But wait, there's more! Not only do we have four teams in the top 10 for both offense and defense, we have five other teams that rank in the top half of the league on both sides of the ball.

Jacksonville is 12th on offense, first on defense. Yes, that's correct. Jacksonville is 12th on offense with Blake Bortles at quarterback. Blake Bortles has an above-average DVOA this year. He is 17th in passing DVOA at 7.5%. We have been waiting for years and wondering: Will Blake Bortles ever develop? Not even into a star, but can he be just an average NFL quarterback? For half a season, at least, the answer is yes. Even if you want to discount his rating a bit because of all the blowouts, it's hard to argue that Blake Bortles has not been an actual average NFL starting quarterback this season. Jacksonville moves up to fourth in overall DVOA this week and is the clear favorite to win the AFC South. Seattle and Tennessee are their only future opponents that currently have winning records.

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That's one team. There are four more. Minnesota is 11th on offense, ninth on defense. The Vikings are also 14th on special teams, the third team (besides Los Angeles and Philadelphia) to be above average in all three phases. Houston is 13th on offense, 15th on defense, although it seems very unlikely that the Texans will still be ranked that high when we get to the end of the season. Washington is 14th on offense and 12th on defense. Seattle is 15th on offense and seventh on defense.

There's even a tenth team this year that is above average on both offense and defense, even though it isn't in the top half of the league. The Los Angeles Chargers are 17th in offensive DVOA, but 0.7% is above average. They're also 17th in defensive DVOA, but -1.8% is above average. The Chargers have been doomed by the worst special teams in the league at -10.1% DVOA.

With all these balanced teams, what happened to the great unbalanced teams of last year? Don't worry, we've got them too. Five of the top eight offenses in DVOA rank in the bottom 10 in defensive DVOA. Those teams are led, of course, by the New England Patriots, although the Patriots are no longer in last place on defense. The Oakland Raiders dropped below them this week. Kansas City, Dallas, and Atlanta finish up this group of five teams.

Only two teams are really the flip, competitive based on defense and special teams without a good offense. Baltimore is second on defense and third on special teams, but 24th on offense. Carolina is also in the top ten for both defense and special teams, but 22nd on offense.

One team you didn't find mentioned here was the Buffalo Bills. The Bills are this week's big DVOA loser, dropping from 10th to 17th after a loss to the New York Jets. That win also pulled the Jets out of the group that I've been calling the Awful Eight. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say that the floundering Tampa Bay Buccaneers have dropped enough to make that group the Awful Nine.

* * * * *

Once again this season, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 18. This year, our content for Madden Ultimate Team on consoles comes monthly, while our content for Madden Mobile comes weekly. Come back to each Tuesday's DVOA commentary article for a list of players who stood out during the previous weekend's games. Those players will get special Madden Mobile items branded as "Powerline, powered by Football Outsiders," beginning at 11am Eastern on Friday.

  • S Keanu Neal, ATL (HERO): 8 combined tackles, 2 forced fumbles.
  • CB Kevin Johnson, HOU: Prevented conversion on four different third-down situations (three tackles and a PD).
  • RB Alvin Kamara, NO: Led all RB in DYAR for Week 9 (10 carries for 68 yards, TD; 6-of-7 receiving for 84 yards, TD).
  • G Andrus Peat, NO: Saints RB had 12 carries for 78 yards up the middle with a 75 percent success rate.
  • OT Cam Robinson, JAC: Jaguars RB had 11 carries for 63 yards to the left side with a 55 percent success rate; no sacks allowed.

* * * * *

All stats pages should now be updated through Week 9, including snap counts, playoff odds, and the FO Premium DVOA database.

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through nine weeks of 2017, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. Opponent adjustments are currently at 90 percent strength, and will hit full strength next week. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

1 LARM 33.0% 2 32.2% 1 6-2 10.6% 9 -14.8% 3 7.6% 1
2 PIT 29.3% 1 29.7% 2 6-2 16.5% 6 -14.3% 4 -1.4% 21
3 PHI 29.2% 3 29.2% 3 8-1 16.0% 7 -7.8% 10 5.4% 5
4 JAC 24.9% 7 24.0% 5 5-3 7.0% 12 -22.7% 1 -4.8% 26
5 NO 23.8% 5 24.8% 4 6-2 19.3% 3 -9.1% 8 -4.6% 24
6 MIN 19.2% 6 18.8% 6 6-2 9.5% 11 -8.4% 9 1.3% 14
7 KC 15.2% 4 12.9% 9 6-3 20.2% 2 11.6% 26 6.6% 4
8 DAL 14.7% 9 15.0% 7 5-3 18.6% 4 8.4% 23 4.6% 7
9 SEA 13.5% 11 14.8% 8 5-3 3.1% 15 -10.6% 7 -0.1% 17
10 BAL 10.5% 12 9.1% 13 4-5 -13.0% 24 -16.7% 2 6.8% 3
11 DET 10.2% 13 9.4% 12 4-4 -4.7% 20 -7.6% 11 7.3% 2
12 HOU 9.4% 8 9.8% 11 3-5 5.3% 13 -5.7% 15 -1.6% 22
13 NE 8.2% 15 10.3% 10 6-2 25.9% 1 21.3% 31 3.6% 11
14 CAR 8.0% 16 7.5% 14 6-3 -8.8% 22 -12.9% 5 3.9% 9
15 GB 7.4% 17 6.1% 15 4-4 9.5% 10 2.5% 20 0.3% 16
16 WAS 6.2% 14 6.0% 16 4-4 3.5% 14 -7.4% 12 -4.7% 25
17 BUF 1.5% 10 -0.3% 18 5-3 -6.9% 21 -3.1% 16 5.2% 6
18 TEN -0.2% 20 -0.1% 17 5-3 1.3% 16 4.7% 22 3.3% 12
19 ATL -2.2% 21 -3.1% 19 4-4 12.5% 8 14.4% 29 -0.2% 18
20 OAK -3.9% 19 -3.9% 20 4-5 17.1% 5 23.3% 32 2.3% 13
21 LACH -7.6% 22 -7.6% 22 3-5 0.7% 17 -1.8% 17 -10.1% 32
22 DEN -8.7% 18 -9.2% 23 3-5 -13.8% 25 -12.3% 6 -7.2% 28
23 CIN -8.8% 23 -6.8% 21 3-5 -13.9% 26 -6.0% 14 -0.9% 20
24 NYJ -15.8% 26 -14.5% 24 4-5 -12.1% 23 4.2% 21 0.5% 15
25 TB -21.8% 24 -22.5% 25 2-6 0.2% 18 18.2% 30 -3.8% 23
26 CHI -23.2% 27 -23.4% 26 3-5 -21.8% 31 -6.7% 13 -8.2% 29
27 ARI -25.2% 28 -23.9% 27 4-4 -15.0% 27 0.1% 19 -10.0% 31
28 NYG -26.2% 25 -26.4% 29 1-7 -4.3% 19 12.7% 28 -9.1% 30
29 SF -28.4% 29 -27.6% 30 0-9 -21.0% 30 11.3% 25 4.0% 8
30 IND -28.7% 32 -26.3% 28 3-6 -20.6% 29 11.9% 27 3.8% 10
31 MIA -28.9% 31 -29.0% 31 4-4 -18.2% 28 10.5% 24 -0.2% 19
32 CLE -33.4% 30 -32.9% 32 0-8 -27.4% 32 0.1% 18 -5.9% 27
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).

1 LARM 33.0% 6-2 36.4% 7.0 3 -6.1% 29 5.2% 5 15.5% 27
2 PIT 29.3% 6-2 26.6% 6.6 4 1.8% 12 -4.5% 25 9.4% 14
3 PHI 29.2% 8-1 34.4% 7.1 2 -6.7% 30 3.2% 10 10.8% 15
4 JAC 24.9% 5-3 26.5% 5.3 12 3.6% 7 -12.6% 31 30.3% 32
5 NO 23.8% 6-2 23.6% 8.2 1 -2.6% 21 -3.3% 24 11.8% 17
6 MIN 19.2% 6-2 19.3% 6.3 5 0.3% 14 3.8% 8 4.4% 2
7 KC 15.2% 6-3 11.9% 6.3 6 8.5% 3 -12.8% 32 11.8% 16
8 DAL 14.7% 5-3 18.9% 5.8 7 -3.3% 25 4.8% 6 15.1% 24
9 SEA 13.5% 5-3 19.3% 5.4 10 -3.4% 26 2.6% 11 6.8% 8
10 BAL 10.5% 4-5 14.8% 3.9 21 -2.8% 22 -2.1% 22 21.3% 30
11 DET 10.2% 4-4 5.4% 5.5 8 4.3% 6 -9.2% 30 4.3% 1
12 HOU 9.4% 3-5 7.7% 4.7 15 -1.2% 16 1.9% 13 17.2% 28
13 NE 8.2% 6-2 8.0% 4.9 14 1.1% 13 -6.7% 28 8.1% 10
14 CAR 8.0% 6-3 7.6% 5.4 9 -0.3% 15 -2.6% 23 6.0% 5
15 GB 7.4% 4-4 2.2% 5.4 11 5.9% 5 -0.1% 21 8.5% 13
16 WAS 6.2% 4-4 -1.4% 4.2 19 12.8% 1 -4.5% 26 13.3% 20
17 BUF 1.5% 5-3 11.1% 4.5 16 -8.6% 32 -4.9% 27 13.6% 21
18 TEN -0.2% 5-3 4.6% 5.1 13 -4.6% 28 0.7% 18 23.0% 31
19 ATL -2.2% 4-4 2.4% 4.4 18 -4.1% 27 7.4% 3 5.6% 4
20 OAK -3.9% 4-5 2.3% 4.5 17 -3.1% 24 3.6% 9 12.6% 18
21 LACH -7.6% 3-5 0.3% 3.1 24 -3.0% 23 1.2% 16 4.6% 3
22 DEN -8.7% 3-5 -4.9% 3.8 22 1.9% 10 -7.1% 29 14.2% 22
23 CIN -8.8% 3-5 -11.9% 4.1 20 2.6% 9 0.5% 19 21.0% 29
24 NYJ -15.8% 4-5 -8.6% 3.4 23 -6.8% 31 2.4% 12 15.4% 26
25 TB -21.8% 2-6 -19.0% 2.9 25 -1.7% 19 0.0% 20 12.9% 19
26 CHI -23.2% 3-5 -27.4% 2.4 26 9.3% 2 0.7% 17 6.7% 7
27 ARI -25.2% 4-4 -18.3% 2.0 27 -2.5% 20 9.3% 2 8.5% 12
28 NYG -26.2% 1-7 -29.5% 1.8 30 7.8% 4 1.8% 14 8.4% 11
29 SF -28.4% 0-9 -30.3% 1.7 31 2.8% 8 4.5% 7 6.2% 6
30 IND -28.7% 3-6 -27.6% 2.0 28 -1.7% 18 9.5% 1 15.0% 23
31 MIA -28.9% 4-4 -23.3% 2.0 29 -1.4% 17 1.5% 15 7.0% 9
32 CLE -33.4% 0-8 -35.8% 1.5 32 1.9% 11 5.3% 4 15.3% 25


118 comments, Last at 14 Nov 2017, 11:50am

1 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Frankly shocked Rams grade out that well on defense (granted I might've seen their 2 worst games against Dallas and the Niners). Haven't really seen the typical Wade Phillips bump from them (obviously if they're top 3 they're doing something right). Maybe it's that they're new, but they seem like a much more exciting potential NFC West champ than the same ol' Seahawks

4 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Most success against them has come on big plays, which I assume don't hold that much weight in defensive DVOA because they aren't as replicable. Haven't checked the stats but their opponent average length of drive and average yards per play have got to be pretty damn good. Also have forced a lot of TOs, several for TDs, and gotten a lot of sacks. It's all centered on the havoc Donald brings every single play in the middle.

8 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

My team (Jags) has been the same (two 69+ yard rushing tds by the Jets, one an obvious fluke, this week Dalton had one 60 yard pass and the Bengals had 90 yards for the rest of the game). Seems like there have been more outright blown coverages or missed assignments than normal this year (even happened to New England a few times). Not sure if it's coaching (positive or negative), lack of practice, or something else. I guess we'll see

81 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Different meanings of "exciting" I think. Yes, Seattle is an exciting team to watch on Sundays, but they're not exciting as their division winner because they always win their division, we expect it. The unexpected is exciting

2 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I honestly think the only reason there is a perceived dip in quality this year is that the teams that are really good so far are not the ones that were expected to be really good, Pittsburgh aside.

There's no truly great team by DVOA yet, but essentially three teams at 30.0%+, three more in the 20s, and 11 at 10% or greater show there are a lot of good teams this year. No excellent ones, but the level of play is quite high, just a tad more defense heavy than normal (traditional stats) given the last few years.

15 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I think that's probably true. Most members of the sports media can't wrap their heads around the concept of the Jags and Rams being among the NFL's elite, so they default to an 'everyone is bad' position.

57 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

It's not just the media. I like the Jags and Rams, but it's still hard for me to trust that they are actually good teams. And for both teams the reasoning is similar. Both teams had bad quarterbacks last year. I still don't fully trust that they are good (Goff) and not terrible (Bortles). And both teams seem to be where they are because of a lot of big plays (on both sides of the ball). Is that actual talent, or were they lucky?

If the Rams and Jags were 6 or 7 win teams last season, and then looking good this year, I think we'd be able to trust them better.

80 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I think you need to update your brain, the sooner you're able to accept this brave new world, the sooner it'll all make sense!

Don't forget, Goff scored pretty high on the FO college QB evaluation metric (QBase or whatever they call it, I can't remember). He looked like a legit #1 pick based on that. The ONLY reason we have to doubt him is a few games coached by Jeff Fisher. And the only reason we didn't discount Goff's rookie performance earlier is that we didn't know just how horrendously awful Fisher was until McVay gave us more data to compare that team to.

And as for the Jags, I don't think their improved performance can be attributed to Bortles at all anyway, so I think Bortles can decline to his career average and they're still going to be a good team

91 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Good point on Goff. All I hear from the MSM is about the lack of good young QBs.

Well, we have the #1-#2 picks from last year's draft leading two of the best teams in the NFL. This should be time to rejoice.

92 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Alright, but the post I was responding to was addressing the idea that the level of play has dropped off this year. If Bortles and Goff, who were both already starters last year, have made big improvements this season, that would be an indicator that the level of play has actually improved, and that would be true so far even if might not keep up for the rest of the year.

3 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Andrus Peat didn't only play well at guard; he also played almost half the game at left tackle after Terron Armstead left with an injury.

5 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

The Week 9 BES Rankings are out - http://besreport.com/week-9-bes-rankings-2017/

The BES and DVOA continue to disagree on the No. 1 team though the the Rams did break into the BES top-5 this week. BES and DVOA also agree the alarming free fall of the Chiefs defense which is 30th in the BES. The talent is there. So is it the scheme?

6 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Is there any consideration made for the short week away team on Thursday night football?

As a Bills fan who has "seen this kind of loss before" I need talked off the ledge.

10 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

In DVOA you mean? If there is an adjustment I've never heard about it being mentioned.

My guess is that the negative effect may actually be real, but if so it's almost certainly exaggerated anecdotally, and is probably as good as negligible in terms of improving DVOA's predictive ability. But I'm not privy to the stat's deepest secrets so who knows

58 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Not sure there should be. Away teams on Thursday are 4-4 this year. 5-4 if you count Kansas City in week 1.

Last year was a little rougher, with road teams going 5-12, but 4 of the losses were by 5 points or fewer.

72 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

DVOA ratings are not adjusted for what day the game is played on. Both teams have to play on the same day, so it theoretically is not an advantage for either offense or defense. I suppose I could someday try to add adjustments for the amount of rest each team is playing on. It's not at the top of the to do list, however.

82 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I'm just saying that I would think the away team losing 1 practice through the week because of travel might somehow be a problem. Or Jacksonvilles success in London or said better the teams that have played multiple games abroad have a better feel for how to prepare while so far from home.

It could mean nothing. I was just wondering if it was taken into account.

83 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Why don't you look into that yourself? I can think of a few potential ways to go about it off the top of my head. Comparing single game DVOA vs the teams season averages and seeing if there's a consistent difference should let you know if your idea has merit. The data is all there in each year's FOA, it shouldn't take more than 30 mins to look at all of 2015-16

I think lots of us would be interested in whatever you come up with.

7 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I think the Rams are going to continue to improve, even if the much harder 2nd half schedule results in fewer wins. I think there is a chance that the defense becomes historically dominant by January, especially if the offense gives them early leads.

9 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Raiders movinmg on up the charts. will continur to move uop. just had some strugglrs fgor a few weejs. not a big deal. only 2 back of Chuiefs and RaIDERS HOLD TIEBREAKER EGDE ON THEM. Christmas night game could be super biowl 52 preview which woudkl also be rematch of super bowl 15.

11 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

My friend/roommate is a Raiders fan so I've been following them more than most teams, and I'm surprised to see them so low on defense. Watching them, I never thought they're literally the worst in the NFL. The unit never stood out as good or bad to me. I wonder what DVOA is seeing that I'm not, and vice versa

13 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, DVOA adjustments. I think an argument can be made that the away team on a short week is probably at a disadvantage. As well as a west to east team traveling to play the 1:00 pm game.

I wonder if the model takes scheduling factors like that and puts into the data? I've seen every snap this year and that's the worst the Bills have looked and its not even close. They looked like a Rex Ryan coached team. Hoping that game is an outlier.

14 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

How does Hugh Jackson keep his job next season? I realize he was basically given a suicide mission when he agreed to coach the browns, but even this sad sack of a team shouldn't be again winless this late into the season? Even if he manages to win a game or two this season, that will be 3 wins across 32 games.

49 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

That aside, I still find it a bit bizarre that a 23.8% NO team would be expected to win 8.2 of 9 games against a league average schedule.

Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are several points higher in DVOA and have displayed less variance, but have fewer estimated wins. The Rams have been a bit more inconsistent, but also many, many DVOA points better, and are over a full game below in estimated wins.

60 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

ESTIMATED WINS ... emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close.

Anecdotally the Saints have been very good in those specific situations. Presumably those strengths outweigh any lack of consistency in the Estimated Wins computation.

78 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Because making your opponent kick field goals, instead of scoring tds, getting out to a lead in the 1st quarter, and performing well in the 2nd half of close games correlates highly with winning the game?

99 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

DVOA is a combination of explanatory and predictive. As in, it attempts to be a measure of how well teams have done and also how well teams will do.

Estimated wins is (almost) only explanatory. It correlates to wins. So if a team overperforms in certain high-leverage situations (late close game, red zone) they'll tend to win more games than you'd expect from their DVOA. Also, if their variance is low - that is, even if they have fewer highs, they have fewer lows - they'll tend to win more than you'd expect. (The 'almost' part is because it also corrects for fumble luck and schedule.)

But none of those categories above tend to be predictive on a year-to-year basis, so they only *explain* why a team might've won more than you'd expect. It's also not clamped in any way per game, so it's possible for a team to overperform for a certain part of the year, and underperform for another. Variance tends to catch that, but the variance there is just per-play variance: if performance just shifts around (you get better in low-leverage situations and worse in high-leverage situations, or vice versa) you won't see that.

The other way a team can under/overperform their estimated win total is fumble luck or an above-average schedule. In the Saints case, though, it's probably the earlier issue.

61 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I guess the Saints have been very consistent this year, and do well in the appropriate categories: "ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. "

20 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

So funny. 2010 Lions with third largest YOY DVOA improvement, and they were still in the negatives!

24 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

The GB defense might actually do something if veterans like Dix, Daniels and Perry actually, you know, made some plays. Right now the only thing keeping the defense from being an utter disaster is Kenny Clark and Blake Martinez, both second year guys

26 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Yeah I was very disappointed with Perry's performance against 3rd and 4th string tackles. Clinton-Dix has look off all year, not sure what's up with him. Daniels was OK Monday, stupid penalty didn't look great but was otherwise OK.

25 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Why is Touchback rate part in hidden ST under the current rules of the game.

Looking at the Pats opponents I see two classes of behavior.
People who catch it 5 yds into the end zone and take the touchback.
People who catch it 5 yds into the end zone and return it to the 15.

Both behaviors are highly predictable about the next 5 returns this person is taking, but the touchback one is consistently the better strategy. So People who are able to see this should get a positive effect in there ST ratings. Does it work this way or are the ignored?

63 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I don't think touchbacks are part of hidden special teams. I think it's part of the "Kick" category - a category that the Patriots lead the league in, by a hefty margin.

66 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

This article was posted today. The Patriots force a higher percentage of kickoff returns than any other team in the league:


70 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Thanks this what I meant. But since DVOA was developed before this strategy became possible my question is if the ST formula is correctly identifying teams which dont fall into this trap and is valueing this accepted TB s smart plays and not bad luck by the return team.

74 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

The Patriots get plenty of credit for Gostkowski's kickoffs and forcing returns. Notice that they are No. 1 in kickoff value. What we don't count is what THE OTHER KICKER is doing, for the most part. The exception is that we do give value to the kick return team if the opposing kicker is deliberately kicking short in order to avoid a specifically strong kick returner such as Cordarrelle Patterson. (I originally made this adjustment for Devin Hester.)

27 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

The sky is falling in Packerland, but I'll hold out hope for one more week. Hundley didn't look horrible, the running game will be better. If they can't beat the Bears handily then I'll be alarmed.

30 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

The Bears lack talent in several spots, but they do have some competent players here and there, notably on the line of scrimmage. They have a coach well suited for hiding their worst deficiencies. They are a bad team, but one that can put up a fight. Nobody in the league should pencil in winning handily against them, because there's a reasonably decent chance that they will make their opponent extend themselves.

As evidenced by them being 6-2 against the spread this year.

48 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Yeah, "handily" was overstating it a bit. But I do think the perfect time to panic would be after a loss to the Bears that puts you below .500 and in the midst of a 4-game losing streak. Maybe not panic, more like throw in the towel on the season.

86 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Geez, and I thought *I* was a spoiled fan from seeing my team win 13 games/yr and winning the SB two ago. Your team is still above .500, and you're struggling with it

45 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Hundley improved in the second half when the Packers were clearly losing, but he had 18 attempts for 80 yards in the first half. Whether that's on him or the offensive scheme, that's clearly horrible in lots of ways.

46 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Oh yes the stat sheet certainly looks horrible, no doubt about that. But watching the guy play I don't get the impression he's about to spontaneously combust like I do while watching the Tom Savages and C.J. Beathards of the world.

50 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

What is more important is that the Packers defense rebounds from what was an awful performance against a wholly one dimensional, albeit quality, offense, in Lambeau Field. If the Bears run effectively, and thus successfully hide their passing game, that'll be a sign that the players have lost hope, and only the real hardcore professionals can be counted on. What we see on Sunday is the residue of the week's preparation. We're gonna see how well McCarthy holds things together.

53 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I look at C.J. Beathard and I see a guy with lots of limitations who will probably never be a good QB, but he's also dealt with a bad line, lots of drops from WRs, and loads of other things. I do think he has a chance to turn into at least an OK backup. I look at Tom Savage and wonder if he has pictures of Bill O'Brien in a compromising position with farm animals, because I cannot for the life of me imagine how else he still has a QB job of any sort.

33 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Just guessing, but I believe the Packers offense was docked immediately when Rodgers was hurt, so as to avoid vastly overstating the Packers strength while the Era of Hundley began to be quantified. Now that the returns are coming in, perhaps Hundley, as limited as he has been, has still been better than anticipated.

34 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Just guessing, but I believe the Packers offense was docked immediately when Rodgers was hurt, so as to avoid vastly overstating the Packers strength while the Era of Hundley began to be quantified. Now that the returns are coming in, perhaps Hundley, as limited as he has been, has still been better than anticipated.

38 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I know the playoff odds are adjusted for Rodgers being out, but I don't think Aaron alters the DVOA ratings themselves.

GB's offensive performances the past few weeks with Hundley probably don't rate too badly because they've faced the #8, #9 and #11 defenses. Also seems like Minnesota's defensive DVOA has shot up quite a bit in the past few weeks, which likely gives the Packers a bit of a retroactive boost in what I assume was their worst offensive game this season.

Funny enough, the Packers lead the league in rushing DVOA. Passing is 19th, which has probably slipped since Rodgers got hurt (as Rodgers is 12th on the current leaderboard).

75 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

This is correct. Actual DVOA is never, ever adjusted based on injuries. Only the rating used in the playoff odds simulation.

This is shocking, but the Green Bay Packers had the third-highest success rate among offenses this week. Only Dallas and New Orleans were better. A lot of that was the final drive when the game was essentially decided, but even in the first half of the game, the Packers had a 45 percent success rate, which was eighth in the league this week. And as I've explained in the past, my research has always shown that if I discount plays late in blowouts too much, it ends up actually making DVOA less predictive, not more predictive.

I know, it's unexpected. But that's the result we got. Essentially, the short passes kept the Packers on schedule on first and second down, but then when third down came, Hundley couldn't do anything.

43 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

They had two long touchdown drives at the end of the game Monday, against the #7 defense coming into the game. They were mostly meaningless drives, but DVOA doesn't see it that way as far as assessing team quality.

32 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I am hoping that the Panther's woes on Offense are the result of Cam's shoulder, Samuel's hamstring, Olson's foot, and Kalil's neck. The first two are healed, and the other two have been adjusted for. I am hoping that the Benjamin trade will actually have the advertised results. My question is... how much improvement would it take to move them from 22 (-8.8) to average 16 (0.0-ish)? Is that attainable in a few weeks?

35 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

They really just need to stop turning the ball over. They are 3rd in the NFL in total turnovers, with 16. Each of their three losses, and in particular the losses to Chicago and Philadelphia, were primarily the result of the offense turning the ball over too much. I would think a significant reduction in turnovers could get the offense closer to a 0% DVOA.

36 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Perhaps it was because it was a team effort, but I am stunned not to see any Jets DL in the weekly heroes. They completely smacked the Bills OL all over the place on Thursday night.

56 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Seven of the top 8 lowest variance teams are in the NFC.
Seven of the top 8 highest variance teams are in the AFC.
Detroit has played seven of 8 games against the NFC.

I have no idea; I'm just grasping...

39 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

New England is clearly ranked too accurately because even the top QB leading the top offense cannot do more than drag a team with a defense that bad to anything more than meh, whatever. Praying that Belichick can pull a magic linebacker bunny out of his hoodie is way better than this. Wun-n-dun hear we come!

51 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

The Pats' DVOA continues to be dragged down by the first few games, which had some colossally bad performances. In the second quarter of the season their play improved noticeably.

64 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

To clarify: the Patriots' Defensive DVOA for that game was 31.7%, which is not an improvement at all.

On the other hand, we have to consider whether that DVOA was mostly situational (i.e. mostly about "prevent" defense) or affected by the "grading curve" effect (i.e. playing with a lead penalizes the defense beyond the intended "degree of difficulty" because the baseline data is skewed towards good defenses against bad offenses).

That 31.7% would still be bad, but perhaps in a way that would not imply such dire predictions....

Nah. They're bad.

65 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Yes, the point of my perhaps-too-brief comment is that, while conventional wisdom is that NE has improved, DVOA doesn't see things the same way (at least, to the same degree), so the amount of elevation from losing those early games won't be as much as people might think.

68 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

The only game where they gave up real meaningless yardage was the Atlanta game, right?

I think mentally we feel NEs defense has been doing better because:
* 6 missed field goals against them in the 4-game win streak (3 for TB, 2 for ATL, 1 for SD)
* Multiple red zone/plus territory 4th down stops, including that ridiculous jet sweep on the 1-yd line
* The controversial Jets fumble-out-of-EZ

From watching limited sets of these games, they definitely looked better against TB (who maybe just isn't that good), and ATL, but against SD it seemed to mostly be San Diego issues (like Rivers fumbling by himself killing a drive, or short-yardage issues though at least there NE deserves some credit) and the Jets played quite effectively.

Certainly looks better than the early weeks where it looked like that team had never faced a passing offense ever before.

76 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Yes, and I posted an extensive criticism of that number last week. The Chargers scored only 2 TDs, were forced to punt on 5 of 9 drives, and had a small number of big plays that inflates their "average yards per play" stat. That doesn't sound like the defense was 31% worse than average to me.

In their four most recent games, the Pats have not give up 20+ points once. They've climbed to 16th in the NFL in points per game, and are 5th in the NFL over the most recent 3-game stretch. After Week 4, the Pats were down at 31st in the NFL, having given up 32 ppg.

Even DVOA thinks NE's defense is playing better - they just buried the Pats so much early in the season that it's hard to climb out of that hole. IIRC, their performance against the Chiefs was a 3-digit defensive DVOA. Or at least VOA.

110 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Criticism or no, that 31.7% remains on the books and illustrates that DVOA does not consider NE's performance as improved as the scores might indicate.

Of course things will improve once the NC and KC abominations roll off, but your comment oversimplifies things and implies a trend that isn't really there.

111 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Well, the low scoring over 5 weeks could be a trend.

Nevertheless, think about Nes competition and who is favored to beat them in the afc? The only non flawed contender seems to be Pittsburgh, who never inspires much confidence. It's not like the ghost of Peyton Manning is lurking around.

112 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Of course! And I hope it is! I also agree with Rick that last week's figure is not an accurate reflection of how NE played.

My contention was from a purely DVOA perspective, where NE's performance would be better described as bad with moments of mediocrity with a few historically terrible early season games.

114 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

NE is clearly ranked too low because volume and fervency of Patriot fan comments are not taken into account. Ben Affleck's drunken rants are better than this. Acknowledge Patroit supremacy or face the wrath of Lord Bellichek!

42 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

The inexplicably unlisted "Black and Gold Bowl" would be the #3 special SB matchup, with a 7.0% chance of happening.

Sports talk radio and sports message boards are the killing fields of intellectual discourse.

67 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

The Steelers' "gold" is yellow, not like the Saints' actual gold. Listing it as a special Super Bowl would be like listing the "Red and Blue Bowl" odds for the Texans playing the Giants.

87 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Why is this black whatever bullshit supposed to be so deeply significant anyway? Seems pretty dumb, really. The very idea that team colors matter in any way is pretty antithetical to FO's work.

I bet there are some My Little Pony forums that would love to discuss colors with you xD

96 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

i would like it if Denver broncos made a my lil pony as new lgoo. kidn fo like how Oregon ducks use a dinsey logo. Hasbro, which made or still mkes My Lil Pony toys, would become Denver broncos new sponsor.

101 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

NY Giants sponsored by Green Giant. That would entail a change in uniform colors, or maybe just mandatory green face paint for the team & coaches.

54 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

James Andrews performed arthoscopic surgery on Bradford's knee yesterday, and he goes on IR, and cant come off until the playoffs. Bridgewater is activated, with no word when he might get on the field, although if he ends up.taking most of the reps in practice, I'd suspect that would leak.

This is it for the Vikings. If they can win 5 of 8 remaining, against a somewhat difficult schedule, they'll win the division, absent a 7-1 Lions finish, beating the Vikings Thanksgiving day. 11 wins will almost certainly guarantee a Wild Card, in any case. Absent injury disaster elsewhere, decent qb production ouught to get them 5 more wins. Sure wish Dalvin Cook was playing, however. I'd rather see Bridgewater get his first start when the o-line doesn't have to deal with crowd noise, so I'd prefer to see if they can get another decent start from The Keener, at Washington, rather than have Bridgewater out on what typically is a pretty crappy field by November.

Assuming that Bradford doesn't get on the field in the playoffs and play well, his market value is finally going into steep decline, after many, many, years of people betting on potential, in a desperate market for buyers. Spielman will get ripped for giving up a 1st and a 4th for him, but I'll defend it forever. The Vikings could not try to make do with Shaun Hill, with a team that had the potential to win playoff games. And Bradford played well, as the injury tsunami just kept coming, for the rest of the season. Its a shame his knee wore out just as he had, for the first time, a relatively healthy roster around him with sufficient talent to win playoff games.

He's earned 114 million bucks, so life's good, in all likelihood, but with better roster, coaching, and injury luck, he might have had a genuinely spectacular playing career.

69 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Baltimore is clearly ranked too high because they are so painful to watch and are such a disappointment.

I'm a Ravens fan. And it causes serious cognitive dissonance to actually watch them play, and then check in here at FO and find them a top ten team. The offense is, of course, dreadful. The defense is loaded, but not playing well. DVOA seems a little lenient on the kind of defensive lapses we see from the Ravens, as if DVOA sees those as having low predictive value, while Ravens see them as typical of Dean Pees-era Ravens defenses and VERY likely to be repeated.

I don't know whether to be encouraged by this ranking, or just throw up my hands in despair at the idea that not only do the Ravens suck, but DVOA does too. This whole season is pretty confusing.

79 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Packers lose at home, go up in ranking
Redskins win at Seattle, drop in ranking.
Kinda hard to wrap my brain around these facts.

90 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Hey, a Washington fan I could not be prouder of my team to find a road win with so many injuries. But they were outgained by almost 200 yards--after a 70 yard last minute drive. 5.8 yards per play to 4.1 (which was 3.1 before the final drive). Seahawks missed 9 points on FG and consequently 1 on PAT, and committed 16 penalties for well over 100 yards. Just the FG could have made this a 24-10 Seahawks lead with under 2m left. This is not one where DVOA diverges from the the eye test. Conventional stats tell the same story.

107 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

This was definitely a game that Seattle lost far more than Washington won. If you look at everything other than missed FG and penalties, Seattle blows them out. Seattle just kept making mistake after mistake and let Washington hang around.

No surprise DVOA saw things the way it did.

95 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I'd be really curious to see a comparison of the 2003 KC team and the 2017 one. Seems very similar in offensive/defensive balance. 2003 team maybe had an easier schedule.

115 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

I remember that 2003 team getting first and goal at the 8 and you knew they would score on 2 or 3 runs.

Too bad their 2002-2003 defense was known as The Red Carpet.

113 Re: Week 9 DVOA Ratings

Thanks for the 875th explanation of estimated wins (the first for me).

I think it is interesting that the stats show New Orleans as so strong in close games but they got many of their yards and points in garbage time in weeks 1 and 2 after they were destroyed by Minnesota and New England.

Does losing by 10 and 16 because you forced some field goals really make you that much better than losing by 18 and 20 if you gave up half of those 6 FGs as TDs?

Do they also get credit for flopping against Miami in the first half before they killed them in the second half? Is a backwards blowout more valuable then a normal first half loaded one?

Do they earn a bonus for not putting away Chicago at home so none of those stats were in garbage time? How about trailing at halftime vs. Brett Hundley?

You play your schedule, so they deserve to be a well regarded 6-2 team, but I have only really been impressed by them after their win at Carolina and their demolition of Detroit (almost 200 yards rushing and 5 forced turnovers)